Somehow, I managed to collect some of the tapes that he left. They lie on his study table by the small crucifix with no clear indication of date or any description of their content. I hope Sir Garcia that they should be taken care of immediately.
He was a good man that is what I remember. The tape hissed as the old tape recorder of SP01 Andres stopped working. “Puta! Work damn it!” he banged the old Sony walkman so hard the delicate parts were clanking. “What kind of a stupid boarder house dweller would record his life on tapes? Tell me Sir Joseph!” Joseph was motionless amidst the silent headquarters of SP01 Andres. “Sir Joseph, you’re not answering my question.” The policeman was getting impatient. Joseph looked at him with disinterested eyes. “You know the more you bang it, the more we’ll not be able to hear it.” Joseph lit a cigarette and puffed in front of the policeman. “Ah Fuck!” Officer Andres called one of his underlings. “Hey Ernesto, make yourself useful and ask Mang Tony if he has a cassette player; the old hag has lots of them. Tell him, I know if he lies so do remind him Ernesto, that the next time I check his establishment again he’ll be counting his teeth instead of pitsas.” The young policeman left without a word or a proper salute.
-Okay Sir Joseph what are we dealing with here and why should the Philippines’s finest should be disturbed on their night’s watch for this?
- We’re dealing with murder here
Joseph said nonchalantly letting the words slip through his soft voice. The policeman was not surprised. He had one of those stupid grins policemen have when they hear outrageous things during their time in duty. The night was cold. The monsoon rains just stopped a few days ago and left the metro with cold nights and trash to clean. The officer heard enough outrageous things during the rain. Should another be bothered if the sun should come out tomorrow?
-How many times Sir that the boarder rat committed suicide. He shot himself. You read Gringo’s note, blood is all over his table with a paltik on his hand.
-But why my gallant officer of the Philippines’s finest would he do that?
-The hell, I know ask a psychiatrist!
-Just try again officer while your man gets the player.
The walkman played again with occasional hisses. He was a good man that’s what I remember. I saw him just outside the Azure bar paying me with a three hundred peso tip. Okay tell me more about me...come on Mim. Well, he feeds me with---.
-You might not want to hear that Sir Joseph. He’s a violent chap. He records the voices of whores he mounts. What kind of a sick fetish is this?
-I told you officer. He’s a more complex chap now that you know.
Okay tell me your problems.
Well, there are times that sit by the window overlooking the Pasig river and imagine myself swimming in crystalline water, but it’s not clean nor crystalline anymore. It’s as murky as it will be with disgusting water lilies and other types of shit you may see floating around. As you see doctor, my life, my obsession is to record; you see my walkman here and I’m taping our conversation. You have discouraged me in the past, but by some mystery you allowed me to record stuff.
I always knew it would be better for the adjustment.
Mmmmm...Yeah....where was I? Okay, the river is quite a scene isn’t it? Now that I’m there I always wanted to imagine how would it look like seventy, eighty, ninety years ago when Manila is still Intramuros and everything else is indio-land. Well, Rizal compared it to Venice. That means it’s really a brilliant place then yet, it’s a sewer’s end nowadays. Garbage and filth float through the once crystalline water.
I think you’re not having any problems today are you?
There are times when I just thought everything else is in Cinemascope. You know that feeling and you just thought maybe God has a ten cent or five peso coins in his almighty pocket and he would randomly pick a machine from his wide hallway and peek in and see everyone. What do you think will he say, if he sees a guy going out of a Sunday service? Happy of course or how about a man who just received communion; he’ll be happy of course. However, what of these two same men met in one place, let’s make it, a bar and decides to be with a whore and pays her a hundred peso to hear his drunken confession then, mounts her in his car so hard that she will scream all the five minutes till he spurts out every litre of cum in his filthy dick. I tried to confess once; but it feels awkward sometimes weird that a priest wearing a cassock and stole and I’m all there to bare everything I did from the five peso I occasionally stole from my mother to desiring someone who is about to take the veil. Should I tell him everything? That man, I think never experienced what I’ve experienced. Then in a few minutes and some tears, he would raise his fingers and bless me like this saying the magic words. Well I didn’t say it was nothing, no, the only unbelievable reality I face is the fact that I’m a sinner again after a few minutes or so. I see someone in the streets I talk to her and bang her straight away. Of course that makes me a sinner again isn’t it?
-That doesn’t make any sense.
-Why running out of tapes Sir Joseph?
-So far it’s the second tape from his one hundred tape volume work.
He lit a cigarette and puffed out of the silent police station. SP01 Andres was sleeping and the young cop brought them two bottles of Cobra. The two drank the yellowish liquid until not even the smallest drop remained in the bottle remained in the bottle. It ticked 12:31 am and the two were just finished with the second tape. Subject 1512300 had been a complex character. Even to the shrewdest writers; the tapes were of no help neither to the biographer, he only conceived life as a fine silk running from a big spindle pulled by a being unknown to me and unknown to you. Who is it then? That’s subject 1512300 and his box of tapes, scattered, unorganized and loosely recorded out of an old Toshiba tape recorder with tapes so cheap moulds would grow after a few years. We don’t know why he shot himself or why he had the fetish for recording everything. Joseph’s time was consumed by this enigmatic person who left nothing but a list of debts and a body with no one to claim. He’ll end up in a medical school under the blade of a nervous twenty one year old practising his first incision in Surgery 101.
Joseph lingered on the random tapes running his fingers on the dusty plastic casing and then stopped at a random tape picking another one out of random selection, whistling a tune by an unknown musician.
“Another one,” SPO1 Andres asked. He was pissed off and his police uniformed unbuttoned until his enormous belly peers out of his shabby blue uniform. “Okay,” he drank another bottle of Cobra.
There’s a feast today. I came to hear from my window the jubilant cries and the loud drums beaten with large clubs...will you shut up! Don’t you dare stop me! [Slap!] I’m sorry, I won’t do it again. I swear by the name of that saint’s honour I won’t hurt you again Mim. Where was I? Sometimes, it is hard to deal with people especially if you know how they act. I saw on e time a person walking around the Red district of Manila. He wore a red shirt with no print, plain and almost no vitality would come out of that person. Oh, but there I was following him as he skims around Malate looking at the KTV bars and disco hubs which lined the famous red district. He decided to enter the Place M—. It was a swank KTV bar with a school girl fetish. To imitate the school they placed mock blackboards and red upholstered chairs served by uniform clad waiters. In front, the place had a tarpaulin signage with pictures of women wearing school uniform with shortened skirts. There were about twenty slim young girls in maroon skirts and tattered blouses. Beneath their picturesque photograph were Korean and Japanese characters, and a smiling face almost jubilant at the idea of wearing skimpy clothing. I looked at them and one name took my attention, Mim and there was nothing more. No surname or even a first name written just three letters M-I-M and a few Korean and Japanese characters where the same name is printed. I entered the establishment forgetting the random guy I was following and I saw the rooms; individual rooms with curtains blocking every block. A waiter greeted me. “Sir, who do you want?”
“One thousand pesos and it’s all in. We do have rules; just don’t do it here. Sogo is only a few kilometres from here do your work there just don’t inflict any physical pain on the girls or infect them with disease or a child or else you’ll be in deep shit or you pay triple. “Now, Sir, who do you want?”
Automatically I said, “Mim.”
“Nice choice, first time?”
He was smiling at me as if knowing that it was my first time in that place. I began to breathe the air inside. The cherry and strawberry fragrance of the air freshener filled my lungs extinguishing the stench I usually smell in the streets of Manila. The concoction of cigarette, shit and more shit filled my nose and this place seems to be the salvation and deliverance I’ve been searching for. I entered the private room, alone. I was sitting in the red upholstered couch with a table and various pictures of women lining the walls. Them, there she was smiling naughtily holding a bottle of beer which I drank rather greedily only to amuse her.
She smelt like the fragrance of fragrances in the room. The perfume filled my private space. I felt that she brought her whole boudoir with her in this room and I was sitting trying to sniff everything.
That was it and up to now she’s here with me sharing my boarding house bed trying to be silent as we finish our daily dose of ecstasy and transcendent adventures into the uncharted lands of one night stands and multiple orgasms, silent as we are from peering neighbours. Maybe I should prepare for mass, but I can’t take Mim with me; she might see one of her customers there.
Maybe we should pay Mim a visit. Joseph was assured in his tone. The solitary room number 23 of San Isidro Apartelle lets the light shine through its rusting iron grating, a fitting room for a King. He had subject 1512300’s tapes with him beside his bed part of that grand show of things he kept in his early years in psychology. Books, case studies and illustrations of cases filled his apartment flat. Above all these, the tapes were apex of his career; he removed the small crucifix in his table just to put in everything he needed to unlock the secrets of an enigma. The tape hissed; it was finished and he found himself lying beside his bed thinking where to find this Mim. What does she look like? The subject has taken control of Joseph Garcia’s straight pattern thinking that the idea of understanding 1512300 is the telos of hearing volumes upon volumes of his tapes.
He would write about him. Psychological Analyses of Individual Paranoia, yup, that’s the title. Writing a paper is eventually a collection and that collection of footnotes is the author’s originality in synthesis. It might be an old topic or a used up case study but it was his case study of a person. He loathed the idea of turning this 1512300’s story into a fiction, making up facts about the person’s life, presupposing about what he felt about this or that situation, no; it must not be. The fictional work has nothing of that sort and it deprives the world of objectivity, sacrificing it for life and the glorification of irrationality. It tries to present a jumble of letters with an invented story, trying to assume itself as something true. Joseph’s science is precisely a struggle to overcome a temptation ringing in every corner of his psychological career. Joseph’s Garcia’s legendary paper published by Routledge, Keegan and Paul in London, a tour de force in psychological analysis of individual neurosis, he imagined authors receiving his work, giving him good remarks about his scholarship, praising his intuition and expertise in the field. The megalomania of scholars includes him and his dream. “They won’t succeed if I don’t find Mim.”
He slipped in his denim pants and polo shirt, grabbed his last packet of Marlboro and a few thousand peso notes. He placed the cassette player on his belt like 80s people listening to music he randomly selected from the collection unmarked with a red x, three tapes were already marked.
He went to Malate when the red district is still sleeping. Old men clean the establishments making sure everything will glitter in the night like stars in a moonless night. They will light everything that men would see clearly what they should die for, at the hands of a woman spreading her legs, the gate to the other dimension. The noise of the jeepneys growled in the think rainy season air; he didn’t know where 1512300’s bar, the Place M— is located. He looked at the long road and found many Place M—s and other bars and to confuse him a lot of them were written in Korean and Japanese.
I just came out of church. I looked at the Holy Child’s image with interest. He stands on a royal pedestal holding a sceptre ad a royal orb. His robe was lined with gems and gold leaves although his face was old. The childishness of the image is worn out by centuries of portraying Christian innocence. It’s not the same when one goes outside the church. There, men are their own gods. Inside they were the Filii Dei but ouside there is one solo dios and that is his necessity. Even his devotion sheds the unconscious desire for luck than grace. For what reason, they offer fruits or food to the statues of wood and plastic? The theological counterpart is a simple offering of lights and flowers, honouring them like they were our ancestors; but for some reason we offer food and eat them after wards. I know I’m not an authority on these matters, but let me offer my observation.
There is a temptation in every individual to view every phenomenon with suspicion. I haven’t seen myself in such a position and I’ve never imagined myself in such a situation. My life has never demanded anything contradictory. Church is something I loved since the days of my tender childhood; never had it left the idea of abandoning the devotion although, sometimes I love fucking Mim and her tender ass fill her with that liquid as I reach the point of no return. Yes, I love God and the women!
It’s absurd, really absurd. Joseph thought as he pressed the stop button on the old cassette player. That can’t be you’re a whoremonger on the other and a devout Catholic as well. Why is he so random yet so determined? Joseph wanted to shout rather than just keep the disappointment to himself. He was forced to silence as his temper gave away his logic. He nestled on the iron chair and wooden desk in a Cafe. Notebook in hand and a cheap ballpoint pen on the other he thought he could organize a consistent study of 1512300’s behaviour. It turned out to be otherwise. He found 1512300’s recordings thoroughly inconsistent and much to his disappointment he resists every form of interpretation. What kind of man sane enough to commit suicide then leaves a case of unfiled tapes for a suicide note? He thought it was murder which ended in a suicide. Mim might be dead thrown into some estero in Manila or Cavite, chopped with her body parts scattered or she might be in someone else’s bed spreading her legs to someone else. No way does this 1512300 fit into a serial killer material. He indeed resists any form of archetype. The paper is not taking shape. The glamour, he envisioned just this morning disappeared into thin air, flying through the rainy season. The possibility of academic success faded into a few scribbles in a cheap notebook.
For the first time, Joseph felt his search was at an end; he was not used to it. His study has fallen in a pit much darker than 1512300. The realm of a subject deeper than an object filled him with confusion. 1512300 are a series of number to specify anonymity; a method used by psychologists. His methodology led him to rigorously and systematically study a human being’s head. He wanted to go through his thought he believed that only through analyzing his remaining thoughts on tape will he be able to unlock the secrets of complex human reality. He sat in the Cafe sipping cold chocolate and tapping his ballpoint pen unto the desk, scribbling down every thought that came to his mind. He tied them as much as he can scratch at everything unnecessary and adding everything he could think off. He was done; he looked at the eight page handwritten work. He was amazed. All the good parts reminiscent of his failed search was written. He believed that this idea should not rest with the note. He could not understand 1512300; he could not find out why he committed suicide even if he would ask Mim, the only person spoken about by name and whose voice is clear in the tapes. It is useless to go all through his audio tape collection. His interest in Mim disintegrated, she could fuck anyone. He felt cold. The cold chocolate bites through his throat chocking his mouth with chocked dreams of greatness and understanding. He expected a fire to break out and call him out, gateway to reason and understanding; but there is only the cold to bite him with no promise of further excellence. He went through the entire ten page note he suddenly realized he had a rough penmanship written in forced mixture of cursive and print. He read through the text; it seemed like a short story.
We cannot unlock the secrets of human consciousness which thought was the only locus of our study; I am proposing to hold it as transcendental. I wish Dr. Garcia agrees with the conference as much as we do now...
© Copyright 2016 Pater Profundus. All rights reserved.
Short Story / Historical Fiction
Short Story / Religion and Spirituality
Essay / Non-Fiction
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